Strong Points: Handling; Comfort; Mileage
Weak Points: Hybrid operation
Mfr.'s Suggested Retail Price: $30,175
Ford touts this as the first full-hybrid SUV, meaning it can run fully on battery power, like the state-of- the-art Toyota Prius, with a Partial Zero Emissions EPA rating. Fortunately, the hybrid technology has been grafted onto what was already a good vehicle.
The basic Escape performs nicely. As a small SUV, it handles decently and offers comfort. The news is the hybrid drivetrain. Mileage is good but not what we expected. This happens because the Escape is fairly heavy, forcing it to switch to the more powerful gasoline engine in situations where the Prius would run on its electric motor. This should improve with advancing technology. Overall, it's not a bad first effort. The Escape Hybrid brings an SUV with improved mileage and emissions -- a trend that must continue.
Engine: 2.3L I4
Horsepower: 133 @ 5,700 rpm
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 9.8 sec.
Braking: 60-0 mph 129 ft.
EPA city/highway: 36/31 mpg
Powertrain: 3/36,000Rust-through: 5/Unlimited